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How did EverMaya create "The Madeline?" Q&A with EverMaya's Director of Brand Strategy

Posted on September 30, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

Today we are joined by EverMaya’s Director of Brand Strategy, Alyse Karakoc, to talk about how EverMaya came up with the design for their newest handbag collection, “The Madeline” – named for and inspired by Madeline Stuart.

 

What goes into the design process when you’re trying to come up with a new handbag for EverMaya?

The design process is always challenging. We are forever trying to strike the perfect chord between functionality and fashion. In today's world everyone is on-the-go. We knew the design needed to reflect a fast-paced lifestyle while not looking too "utilitarian." The sleek, yet chic look of "The Madeline" we feel, hits a high note. We really love the canteen shape - it has been one of this season’s top trends at the fashion shows, and we feel good to have been a bit ahead of the curve.

What is your favorite feature of “The Madeline?”

One of the best features of the bag is that it is small enough to be an everyday go-to with its cross-body function and yet big enough at 7 in. diameter, to carry the essentials – yes, the iPhone 6 fits inside!

“The Madeline” collection is named for Madeline Stuart, the world’s first globally-recognized model with Down syndrome. How did she influence the design?

While creating a collection with Madeline's namesake we knew we needed to develop something very special; to embody the spirit of Madeline Stuart. "The Madeline" captures the youthful energy of Madeline Stuart with the combination of a variety of leather colors and the vibrant “corte de Zunil” fabrics. The shape speaks to the uniqueness of Madeline herself.  Behind the look of the bag is also the message. One of inclusion. We are trying to create beautiful handbags that lift the spirit of the fashion world and we can't help but feel "up" when seeing the cheerful smile of Madeline coupled with the line inspired by her. Certain to get a second look! 

What is “corte de Zunil?”

Corte de Zunil is a traditional, handwoven fabric from the Zunil region in Guatemala. The bright, colorful patterns in the fabrics are unique to the region. Corte refers to the skirts worn by native Guatemalan women.

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The Madeline is the latest handbag from fashion brand EverMaya. 5% of every purchase is donated to The National Down Syndrome Society. Click here to see more: http://evermaya.com/collections/the-madeline

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EverMaya Goes Viral: The Madeline Stuart Effect

Posted on August 24, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

As I take a moment to catch my breath and reflect on the last 6 weeks at EverMaya, my wife and I have often wondered aloud if this is all really happening, or if we have simply been walking through our own Big Fish-epic daydream. Less than 48 hours after the images of our first campaign with the inspirational Madeline Stuart were posted on her Facebook page, they quickly went viral with a capital “V.”


Early articles in The Independent (UK) & Daily Mail (UK) were immediately followed by pieces in People StyleWatch (more than 100,000 shares!) and PopSugar. I remember smiling to myself that Friday evening and thinking, “Well, that was pretty cool.” But the Madeline effect continued to push on like a steam locomotive. That following Monday I did an interview with Today.com, and it grew from there, unabated. Interviews with papers and magazines in South Africa, Norway, Australia, and Spain underscored how hungry people around the world were to hear more about Madeline and her latest project.

The message of inclusion and Madeline’s beautiful photos with our Guatemalan handbags resonated like a sonic boom across demographics and geographies. I am no longer surprised at people’s appetite to actively participate in Madeline’s role in changing the face of fashion. 

The success of our initial campaign inspired us to want to do even more. Our newest launch features a line of beautiful purses handmade in Guatemala, named for and specifically designed with Madeline and her fans in mind. The most satisfying part for me is that with every purse we sell, EverMaya will donate 5% of the purchase price to The National Down Syndrome Society. I am very proud of our partnership with Madeline Stuart and the possibilities for the future.

All of us at EverMaya believe to our core in the value of inclusion and the importance of being a socially conscious lifestyle brand. We are so very appreciative of how supportive our fans, new and old, have been. And I welcome anyone who hasn’t yet purchased from EverMaya (www.evermaya.com) to find out firsthand how the quality of our fashion & home collections is in line with our positive messaging and social mission.

-- Damian Graybelle, President of EverMaya

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What is Huipil?

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Eli Olmedo | 0 comments

Known for its fascinating patterns and vibrant colors, a Huipil (pronounced wee-peel) is an embroidered blouse worn by indigenous women in Guatemala. Handwoven on back-strap looms using timeless techniques passed down for generations, a single garment can take anywhere from one to six months to complete, but the end result is a one-of-a-kind work of art.

 A sampling of a variety of Huipiles:

The weave or design of each Huipil holds great cultural significance and sacred meaning as each region, town, and village possesses its own style and pattern. A woman’s traje (traditional dress) defines not only her personality and geographical location but also her marital, social, wealth, and religious status. These patterns and meanings have held true throughout the years, dating back to the ancient Mayan civilizations.

To complete the traje, they often combine Huipil with a corte, a traditional, long Mayan skirt, which they weave on a hand loom. To secure the corte, they wear a faja (belt). Generally handwoven and embroidered, a faja can range anywhere from 6 to 9 feet long and vary in complexity. In order to make a Huipil, Mayan women start with raw wool or cotton, which they wash, comb, and spin. They stretch the threads on a warping board that they attach to a loom. To attain the elaborate designs they weave colored yarn into the cloth as they weave through a process known as brocade. Many women use natural dyes (flowers, plants, bark, berries, etc.) to color their threads.

EverMaya repurposes its Huipiles and blends them with the highest quality materials in making its handbags, thus breathing new life into the beautiful fabrics to create stunning, one-of-a-kind pieces that also promote ecological sustainability.

 

Our Huipiles are integrated with premium leathers and exquisite design accents.This seamless fusion of Mayan tradition with modern design creates an innovative category of luxury for a new generation of women. 

 

 

 

 

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Why everMaya hired a Model with Down syndrome to be the Face of our Brand

Posted on July 09, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

By Damian Graybelle

As the President of a start-up Fashion and Lifestyle brand, every decision that I make today has a direct impact on the future of our company. Those decisions can often be magnified in a landscape as competitive as the fashion and home décor industries. So when I decided that we would hire Madeline Stuart, a young aspiring model with Down syndrome, I never realized that it would end up being the best decision I have made to date.

Here are few of the reasons as to why I chose Madeline in particular to be the face of everMaya:

Madeline Stuart is Beautiful

  • Let me be clear here – Madeline Stuart is not a “beautiful young woman with Down syndrome,” rather she is beautiful – full stop.
  • In every photo featuring Madeline, you see an expression of pure joy on her face. That joy is infectious, and you can’t help but walk away with a smile of your own as well.


Madeline is Comfortable in Her Own Skin

  • You need only follow Madeline’s daily updates on Instagram or Facebook to see that this is a young woman that is enjoying life to the fullest. She takes pride in who she is, and embraces the unique experiences that life is bringing her way. I know that I for one was never as comfortable in my own skin at 18 as Madeline so clearly is.

Madeline Has Overcome Real Obstacles in Life in Pursuit of Her Goals

  • Living with a heart condition and overweight, Madeline told her mom that she wanted to become a model in 2014. Instead of dismissing her request as the fantasies of a teenager, Madeline’s mom, Rosanne, hired a personal trainer. She has now lost nearly 50 (!) pounds and is fully realizing her dream with more yet to come.

Thank you Madeline Stuart for allowing us to be part of your journey, and we look forward to what our partnership holds going forward. We also thank Rosanne Stuart, who has been instrumental in Madeline realizing her dreams.

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everMaya Company Info

everMaya will be premiering their designs for the first time to industry buyers at the NY NOW trade show in NYC from August 15th-18th in booth 551. Our mission at everMaya is to take the tradition of making beautiful products by hand and blend them with modern style to create a limited number of one-of-a-kind pieces. everMaya’s Fashion and Home Collections introduce the colors, artisanship and culture of Guatemala to new markets. A portion of every sale is donated to Education for the Children, a registered 501(c) (3) non-profit which aims to help disadvantaged children in Guatemala to break the cycle of poverty through education and empowerment.

If you would like more information about the product line or retail distribution opportunities, please contact Damian Graybelle at 347-886-4436 or email at damian(at)everMaya(dot)com

Images from everMaya’s photo shoot with Madeline are available upon request.

EverMaya Social Media Links:

Official Website: www.evermaya.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/shopevermaya

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shopevermaya

Instagram: https://instagram.com/shopevermaya

Madeline Stuart’s Social Media Links:

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/madelinesmodelling

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Madelinesmodel1

Instagram: https://instagram.com/madelinesmodelling_/

 

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Searching for the Face of an Icon

Posted on March 12, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

By Elizabeth Olmedo

for everMaya

 In 1959, with a rise in national pride in their Mayan heritage, the Bank of Guatemala commissioned a search to find the most beautiful Mayan woman whose profile would represent the beauty of the Mayan culture on the nation’s 25-cent coin.

Today known as the “Choca,” the 25-cent Quetzal coin received its nickname due to the visibility of only one eye, much like the profile found on the Lincoln penny. 

In Guatemala, people colloquially refer to someone who can’t see well as “choco.”

The original face of the coin established in 1950 was deemed not to have been a true representation of Mayan beauty and they were obligated to go back to the drawing board. So who is the woman that we find today on the 25-cent Quetzal coin dressed in traditional Mayan garb, wearing a tocoyal (headdress)?

Architect Ovidio Villeda Moscoso was given the task of creating the iconic image for the coin.  Prior to beginning the search, he spent months at the Guatemalan Museum of Natural of History researching what defined the traditional Mayan facial features. Photographer Julio Zadik then traveled to Santiago Atitlán (one of the largest towns on the edge of Guatemala’s most treasured Lake Atitlán) where a competition was held to search for women who most personified the Mayan features.

Out of a competition of thousands of Mayan women, Zadik photographed the three winners and Ovidio Villeda created the ideal composite based on those portraits.  That image now adorns the 25-cent coin.

One of those girls was Doña (Lady) Concepción Ramírez, known affectionately among her neighbors as Doña Chonita. Though only 17 at the time Zadik took her photograph, she has become an inspiration and voice for women.  

Doña Chonita continues to live in Santiago Atitlán and people travel from around the globe to visit the woman whose portrait has influenced Guatemalan history. Viewed as a model of humility and distinction, she has received numerous prizes and tributes. Doña Chonita has become a face and spokesperson for the Mayan culture — a timeless culture that we, at everMaya, strive to share with others through our one-of-a-kind handbags, custom pillow covers, and decorative lamps.

 

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Born to Weave: Traditions Inherited from a Goddess

Posted on March 06, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

by Elizabeth Olmedo for everMaya

Tradition holds that the Mayan Moon Goddess, Ixchel, taught the first woman how to weave. Wrought with cultural symbolism, vibrant colors, and elaborate motifs, Mayan mothers have passed down the art to their daughters from generation to generation for centuries.

Following tradition, a newborn girl is presented with the necessary tools for weaving. At the age of eight or nine, she receives her first lesson, watching her mother, older sisters, or older women in the community. Around the age of 11, the girl weaves her first piece of cloth.

For Mayan women, weaving presents an integral part of their daily lives and is viewed as one of their most important responsibilities as they are tasked with safeguarding and passing along the craft.  Perfecting the skills required to weave is a badge of honor.

Aside from its religious and social aspects throughout history, weaving has held central significance to the indigenous women’s economic contribution to their families. Textiles, designs, and colors vary from one village to the next, and a woman demonstrates respect for her community by adhering to the esthetic rules and by following the cultural and social norms. A woman’s clothing identifies her as an individual within her culture while communicating the traditional Mayan beliefs about the universe.

Aspects of the Mayan culture are illustrated through metaphors woven into the material. For instance, the horizontal zigzag design found in many Chichicastenango (a town in Guatemala) weavings represent the mountains where the Maya Quiche grow their corn. Typically, patterns relate to aspects of everyday life, rituals, and nature.

Rich in heritage and culture, the symbolism encountered in Mayan weavings provides the weavers with a connection to their ancestors and traditions. Essentially, it reveals their identity — as an individual and as a member of the community. It is no wonder that young girls are groomed and prepared in this ancient, captivating art-form from the moment they enter the world.

At everMaya we are proud that our stylish handbags, beautiful pillow covers, and decorative lamps carry forward the timeless Mayan traditions of quality, handmade products to a new audience.

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Lake Atitlan - possibly the most beautiful lake in the world

Posted on February 13, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

Happy Friday! Lake Atitlan, located about 3 hours from Guatemala City, is one of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring natural bodies of water on our planet. Surrounded by three lush, towering volcanoes, it is more than a thousand feet deep at its core. Ati, as it is more commonly known, is also where the concept for everMaya was launched.

Join our list of ‪#‎everMayans‬ to find out more about our March launch:
http://evermaya.com/pages/subscribe

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Welcome to everMaya - First Post!

Posted on February 07, 2015 by Damian Graybelle | 0 comments

Welcome to everMaya! We are very excited about the coming launch of our new lifestyle brand, and hope you will be as well. As we get ready for the official launch of our store on March 16th, we have a fantastic giveaway. The first 5 everMaya Designer Clutches ever produced will be given away! Enter to win here: http://gvwy.io/57lort

 

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